Ukraine Says Those Responsible In Iran For Downing Its Airliner Must Face Justice
Anna Raskaya May 24, 2020
The Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine has told Radio Farda Kyiv insists on punishing those responsible in Iran for shooting down its passenger plane in January.
As the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 took off from Tehran's Imam Khomeini international airport on January 8, heading for Kyiv, two missiles were fired at the plane which crashed near the capital city, killing all aboard.
Victims of the crash included 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Germans, and three Britons.
Speaking exclusively to Radio Farda, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Yevheniy Yenin, on Saturday, May 23, dismissed a recent remark attributed to the Islamic Republic Minister of Defense.
The previous day, a former lawmaker had cited the country's Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Amir Hatami, blaming the operator for violating regulations and "rules" for firing two missiles at the Ukrainian airliner over Tehran.
Reacting to the comment attributed to Iran's defense minister, Yenin told Radio Farda, "We will only accept Iran's explanation if we are convinced that it has made every effort to conclude the investigation."
For three days, the Islamic Republic authorities vehemently insisted that technical failure caused the crash.
Ultimately, under domestic and international pressure, the country's Joint Chief of Staff admitted that an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps missile had downed the plane.
Meanwhile, Tehran has so far refused to hand over the doomed plane's black boxes for decoding outside Iran.
Earlier, the head of Iran's Armed Forces Judiciary, Shokrollah Bahrami had disclosed that one person had been detained in connection with the plane's case and several others had been summoned as defendants.
"We expect the investigation to be comprehensive and transparent, in line with international law and standards," Yenin sais, referring to statements made by Iranian government officials.
Furthermore, he called on the Islamic Republic government to give Ukraine, as the owner of the aircraft, access to relevant information.
He also asserted that other countries involved in the case have a similar position to Ukraine's.
While reiterating the fact that Tehran has so far not delivered any official explanation about the tragedy, Yenin noted that the Islamic Republic has not yet set a compensation to be paid to Ukraine and its International Airlines company (UIA), as well as the relatives of the victims.
Moreover, Iran has so far refused to table a guarantee ensuring that a similar incident will not happen again in the future, Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister complained.
Ukrainian government officials have repeatedly stressed the need for Tehran to cooperate in investigating the incident, asserting that not only the anti-air system operator but also all those who ordered firing missiles at the Ukrainian passenger plane should be identified and punished.
Kyiv has also repeatedly warned that should Tehran not cooperate, it will sue the Islamic Republic at international bodies.
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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